Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese-ball and Texas Trash!

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese-ball and Texas Trash!

Gobble gobble!  That’s something you see written a lot at this time of year.  I would say “hear a lot this time of year” but honestly, it’s been years since I’ve heard a real turkey’s garbled yell.  Not something the next door neighbors keep in their yard.  Maybe your neighbors do…..?

I don’t love turkeys, but I do love cheese-balls!  And snacky foods.  And cheesy foods.  So I saw this baby on Pinterest and felt in my bones that I should copy it!  I followed the recipe from Homemade in the Heartland for this handsome gobbler, though I didn’t have all the decoration ingredients.  We ended up having a Thanksgiving snack table before the actual turkey dinner, and this gobbly guy fit right on it!Turkey cheeseball: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comInstead of starting life out as an egg, he started out as this (cream cheesy, oniony, pinappley goodness):Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comAnd then rolled around in this (pecans):Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comI found that after sitting around a while, the pecans started to soften up (especially the next day).  I think I would try and roll him in pecans at the very last minute before the party!  I used white chocolate chips for his eyes, glued him together with black candy melts.  His neck is a pepperoni stick and candy corn for beak and feet!Turkey Cheeseball: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comWith the extra red candy melt I made his “gobbler” and wrote….a little word….I was in a hurry, ok?!!  (and my brain has been turning to mush lately)Texas trash: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comTo go along with Mr. Gooble, I was all excited to try this traditional Texas snack mix!  (Texans, tell me the truth in the comments below:)  A delicious recipe for Texas Trash!  I found it on Little Magnolia Kitchen and just changed her recipe a bit to fit with what I could easily find.  The only Chex cereal I could find was Honey Chex  (see photo above)!!  And the nacho flavored Bugles.  I made up half the recipe, and could barely squeeze it into my pan.  Little Magnolia’s recommendation to use a large aluminum foil roaster is a good one….next time!  I didn’t have steak spice, so just kinda made my own with what I had.  So things were kinda different, but kinda……AWESOME!Texas Trash: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comIt turned out Y.U.M.M.Y!!  Definitely a hit!!!  I think it might go on our “traditional” list.  We thought of our Texan relatives while we ate it!! 😉  (Oops, should I have said that???)Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comThere were some other new recipes that I tried out this year…..let me get it together and I’ll do another post…..


Thanksgiving Pies

Thanksgiving Pies

Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone.  But we are thankful still!  This fall was fairly busy for me, hosting Thanksgiving, several birthdays and a surprise trip!  I haven’t posted any pics from our little Canadian Thanksgiving celebration and thought that now would be a good time, as our Southern Neighbors take their turn to celebrate.  So here’s a word of gratitude for our family and friends who are celebrating this week!  “Thankful for y’all!!”

And there were some pies that I made.  Of course the idea of a “typography pie” was something I found on Pinterest, but I switched it up a bit…Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasand cut the letters right into the top pie crust, instead of laying the baked letters on the pie.  Last year I had made a cherry cheesecake pie, and liked it so much I figured we should make it a tradition.Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasOf course there was a more traditional pumpkin pie, don’t they look yummy, just out of the oven??   But looks can be deceiving….Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasSome little elves were helping me in the kitchen that day…..just sayin’…….

Cookies were baked, for our (also traditional) Linzer cookies (though I tried a new recipe, haven’t found one I love yet).  Little acorn cookie cutters from my sister and leaves for pie decorating!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideas

{Linzer cookies are the ones with jam in the middle.  This year I tried baby squirrels inside of mommy squirrels and hearts in hearts.}Thanksgiving pies and cookies -denna's ideasThe pie crust “cuttings” baked up and dipped in cinnamon and sugar (another tradition!)  ❤ you!!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasSo the pumpkin pie made it to the Thanksgiving table, all dressed up in it’s Linzer cookie finery….Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideaswith dollops of maple whipped cream….and thank goodness for that whipped cream!!  After a few bites, I felt that something was wrong with the beautiful pie, the one I had so looked forward to eating.  My husband says, “Don’t take this wrong, but it’s kind of salty!”  And yes, yes it was.  Could it be the “extra twists” I gave to my traditional pie crust recipe this year?  Oh dear, and here everyone was bravely eating away…but I couldn’t stop commenting on it!  And could hardly eat it, even slathered in whipped cream.  Was it the crust or the filling that was so salty?  When I announced that I was going to throw the leftovers away, my husband said, “no offense, but go ahead!” (or words to that effect)  I begged everyone to stop eating and leave the rest.  What a disappointment (for those of us who love pumpkin pie, I don’t think the other people were super heart-broken).

What is happening to my baking? I thought. In the end, I like to think that it happened because of one of those “helpful elves” who helped me in the kitchen that morning….either adding or distracting me!!!

Good thing it was the filling and not the crust, so the really special pie tasted great!!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasThank You God for family and friends, cozy homes and food on our tables.  Love You, God!!

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Do you ever find yourself with one cup of pumpkin puree just sitting there in your fridge, a day or two after baking something delicious?  And you think to yourself…what could I do with one cup of pumpkin?  That’s what I was doing yesterday (when I should have been doing something else).  After a few clicks around online, I found this yummy-sounding recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, with ingredients mostly found in my house!!  I adapted the recipe from Family Fresh Meals and cut out the stuff I didn’t have.  I also made some modifications because my mixer is deceased and I had to mix everything the old fashioned way…by hand!  Thus the melted butter.  So the recipe is written as if you are going to whisk things by hand. Feel free to use a mixer 😉Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by

I’ve never had pumpkin spice in my spice rack, so I improvised.  (You could also pre-mix some for yourself, find it on this idea page).Pumpkin spice for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by Are you excited about fall, and baking with pumpkin?  How about pumpkin+chocolate chips+oatmeal?  Doesn’t that sound good?  Ok, ok, here comes the recipe:

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal

1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

                                            OR  1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 tsp. pumpkin spice instead

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter (salted or unsalted)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree (I use canned)

1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In any old bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda,  spices and salt. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a  large microwaveable bowl, add sugar and brown sugar and whisk or beat until mixed together.

3. Now add in pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla. Beat or whisk until well combined.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.

5. Now stir in the oats. Mix well.

6. And lastly, stir in the  chocolate chips.  Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for while. (or not. You could do that while you get a cookie pan+baking parchment paper ready)

7. Drop cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon on to the prepared baking sheet.  I tried pressing some of them down with a fork (for the photos) but ended leaving the rest mounded up because I liked the texture better that way, so they were smaller, thicker cookies.

8. Bake cookies for about 14  minutes (cookies are lightly browned). DO NOT OVER COOK. They will seem a little soft, but will firm up as they cool. You want to keep the nice, soft texture!  So here’s the recipe in photos, since I was having fun in the kitchen instead of doing other things…Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips, great cookies for fall by Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by

oooo I love this photo with the vanilla swirling around the island of pumpkin...

oooo I love this photo with the vanilla swirling around the island of pumpkin…

whisk up the yumminess!

whisk up the yumminess!

the dry ingredients

the dry ingredients

add that snow-like powder!

add that snow-like powder!

the chocolate chips weren't really purple....they were Costco, ethically sourced chocolate...

the chocolate chips weren’t really purple….they were Costco, ethically sourced chocolate…

oops, the oatmeal was mixed in before the chocochips actually

oops, the oatmeal was mixed in before the chocochips actually

I was going to include a few spoonfuls of molasses in this recipe, but then realized my cupboard was bare!  Anyways, everyone liked these cookies, they are very soft and are getting softer…though they are disappearing fast.  And here are the winning “after” photos:Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips, baked by I found it hard to do the cookies justice in the photos.  They were nice and warm and just jumped off the plate into my hand and into my mouth….Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by The cookies could have been larger, maybe they would have looked more awesome.  Here they are on my favorite fall plate…and now they are… gone….

(so much for my facebook photo voting…I just didn’t want to disappoint anyone, so felt I should add all the cookie photos here. Thanks guys! Wish you could’ve stopped by and had some cookies and tea with me!  Maybe next time…)Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by - 🙂

An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

How do you feel about asparagus?  I love “Junior Asparagus” from VeggieTales, but haven’t had very much experience cooking with the bumpy green stalks.  Ok, make that no experience.  The other day a very large bag of it came home from Costco, and I had no idea what to do with it.  Resisting the urge to let it quietly grow a fuzzy green beard in the bottom of the refrigerator, I decided to get on the ball and check out Pinterest for some asparagus recipe ideas.

I felt very hesitant about cooking it at all, since I have never been impressed with any of the stalks I’ve tried in the past.  And obviously my kids haven’t been eating it if I haven’t been offering it.  Dilemma!!  But then I found this asparagus gratin recipe over at Apron Appeal that looked so cheesy and good, I figured anyone could choke it down!  🙂asperagus gratin recipe tried by

I liked the way the white sauce was made with water from boiling the bottoms of the asparagus.  I changed up the recipe a bit since I didn’t have the same cheeses and basically used Parmesan in the sauce and a bit of Tex-Mex grated cheese mix to sprinkle on top.  But I didn’t really add much cheese at all (less than the recipe called for)  And added bacon bits, sort of an added incentive for picky eaters.

Since I was busy trying out this new recipe (at the last minute) I ran out of time, so supper was….asparagus gratin over white rice!!  Ta-da!  When I whipped the tray of asparagus out of the oven the reactions were so funny!  Mostly along the lines of “Mom, whaaaat’s thaaaaat??” >insert disgusted emoticon<  ahem, Let me introduce you to asparagus my dear ones.

Long story short, it received a thumbs up from almost all 6 of us, and a double thumbs up from one adult and one child.  I really enjoyed it, but am not exactly rushing out to by asparagus again….not sure why….maybe because someone felt it was sad to be eating “Junior”…..

But I do really recommend this recipe and you should head over to Apron Appeal and try it out the next time you have a bag of lonely asparagus!  I really liked the way the gratin (white sauce) browned up under the broiler, it looked so very nice……………….well now that I’m seeing my photos, maybe we should try it again….!

asperagus gratin recipe tried by

(click on highlighted links above to get to the recipe)  (se puede encontrar la receta aqui)

Celebrando la independencia de Guatemala: el 15 de septiembre



15 de Septiembre,  himno nacional de Guatemala, dennasideas.comhay mas ideas para celebrar aqui:  Arte de la bandera y papel picado,  Pastel de papel para el 15 de septiembre,  y Manualidades para el 15 de septiembre

Que disfruten el dia!! 🙂


How to make a Classic dessert: Pineapple Upside-down Cake!

How to make a Classic dessert: Pineapple Upside-down Cake!

Now here’s a beautifully wonderful classic dessert that I haven’t tried for ages!!  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever even tried making it before, but the last time I tried tasting it was ages ago for sure!  I saw a delicious photo of this cake made by Averie Sunshine over at Averie Cooks and I couldn’t stop staring at the photos, with mouth watering.  After that, I was just waiting for a special occasion…..

A very special occasion soon came to pass, the double birthday of my dear Father- and Sister-in-law!  So I tried out the cake…and well….it was…….everything I had hoped.

The recipe from Averie Cooks is super!  And quite easy.  Brown sugar and butter glaze, with sliced pineapple and maraschino cherries, covered in sour cream batter.  Bake, rest, flip, photograph, eat!  Here are a few how-to-assemble-the-cake photos that I took as I whipped together this baby:how to make pineapple upside-down cake by - Page 012 how to make pineapple upside-down cake by - Page 011 how to make pineapple upside-down cake by - Page 010 how to make pineapple upside-down cake by You can find the recipe here on Averie Cooks.  I added my photos so you can see how I layered the pineapple and cherries.  The only thing that I did differently from her recipe was to use a 10 inch round pan instead of a 9 inch one and to accidentally put the side pineapple pieces upside-down!  oh, and a few extra cherries!  It was so easy to flip it out of the pan after it had baked and rested awhile…123 flip!  I had to take a whole bunch of photos of the luscious beauty….classic pineapple upside-down cake by

See the yummy sweet juiciness? classic pineapple upside-down cake how to by denna's ideas

Since I used a slightly larger pan, the batter wasn’t very deep, but that was fine.  The taste was……….so…………wonderful!!classic pineapple upside-down cake how to by denna's ideas

Here’s my little glass hen, coming to check it out…classic pineapple upside-down cake how to by denna's ideas

For some reason the flavor of this cake transported me to my childhood….(though my Mom says she didn’t make it very often)

classic pineapple upside-down cake how to by denna's ideas

The lovely cake was devoured quite quickly, though it was very very sweet.  Needs a cold glass of milk!  Even with all my photos of the cake, the ones on the blog with the recipe are even more amazing! 🙂classic pineapple upside-down cake how to by denna's ideashow to make pineapple upside-down cake by Ahem, if you know me, you know that my in-laws live very far away….so they didn’t actually get to taste the cake….um, we gobbled it down while we thought of them.  It’s our way of celebrating….. 😉


Quick and easy bread: delicious Irish soda bread

Quick and easy bread: delicious Irish soda bread

This bread is easy enough and delicious enough to make and eat every day!!  I know you won’t, and I won’t even go there either, but really it’s a great recipe to have on hand to round out a hot meal.  It takes just minutes to throw together, about 45 minutes in the oven and a little rest while you are finishing the rest of the meal.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water….homemade bread in all it’s lovely whiteness (more about that later)…

I made this recipe for Irish soda bread for our St. Patrick’s Day meal, fitting, eh? I found the recipe in my rusty trusty Fannie Farmer Baking Book (the one I was going to throw out when somehow it made it’s way into my house, but then I decided to use it to press flowers in, then finally when I actually started cooking and baking, realized that it contained some great recipes and instructions!  Now it’s my go-to for baking.  Funny how things work out….)  Here are the photos, then I’ll add the recipe.Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by

It’s such a gorgeously rustic looking bread!  I love the texture, color and the big cross in the center.  Oh, and the smell while it bakes, and did I mention that it was easy?  And only takes 4 ingredients!  F.O.U.R.  Having said that, I didn’t actually have all of the ingredients on hand….Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by

I had spent my time working on roasted cabbage and an “Irish” stew variation (made with what I had on hand: sausage, potatoes, onions and carrots…but I guess that that’s fairly authentic anyways).  So I go to bake up some Irish soda bread, like I did last year.  I measured out the dry ingredients and opened the fridge.  I knew that I didn’t have buttermilk, so I would just use milk and vinegar or lime juice….but no milk!!!  I dashed to the computer and typed in “substitutions for buttermilk” and found a great link here, so I found out that I could use yogurt as a substitute!  Yay, I had lots of greek yogurt!

Here’s a close-up of the texture (I was eating the leftover bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a snack…sooooo good!)  Remember, this was made with yogurt, and no extra fat!  A very white color and great taste, and it must have a lot of protein with 2 cups of greek yogurt!!  Now on to the recipe….

Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by

Irish Soda Bread

(an authentic recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham, 1984)

4 cups all purpose flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tbsp. vinegar in milk to make 2 cups OR 2 cups of plain greek yogurt)

Preheat your oven to 3750 F.  Grease a baking sheet or an 8-inch round pan…I used baking parchment on a cookie sheet.  Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (flour, salt, baking soda) and mix them around.  Add buttermilk and stir it up with a fork until it holds together in a rough mass.  Since I was using thick yogurt, I actually had to add just a bit of water to the dough to make it mixable.  Knead the dough a few times (I did this right in the bowl) then pat into about an 8 inch round mound on the sheet (or in the round pan). Using a sharp knife, slash a large X into the top of the dough, about 1/4 of an inch deep.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until it is nicely browned and the X has spread open.  Transfer to a rack to cool for awhile, then wrap it in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest, on the rack for about 8 hours.  This recipe makes one round loaf, and it should be completely cool when you serve it.  The rest time in a damp towel helps the crust to nicely soften up.  We didn’t wait 8 hours, obviously, or it wouldn’t be such a quick bread!!

If you can whip this up right before you prepare the meal, bake it, then let it sit in the damp towel while you make the rest of the meal, it should be ready to be served when the meal is ready.  Using the towel is a good way to store leftovers.  This bread also makes great toast!  I love it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or just plain with butter.  This loaf was enough to go with 2 meals for the six of us!  So thankful for our blessings!Quick and easy Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day or really just for any day! Delicious and easy, recipe posted by

(now I am craving some yummy bread….!)